Consider These Tips for Coping When Your Only Child Goes to College

coping when your only child goes to college

So, your only child has always shown an interest in pursuing a college degree, and the time has finally come for them to head off to college. This day was bound to come, but you may not know anything about coping when your only child goes to college, especially if the child will have to move out of your daily reach. They’ll have to be away from home for at least a couple of years; yes, you are happy that they get to live out their dream, but the fact that they are going to be away from home can make you intensely sad. You may have no idea of what to do when your only child goes to college.

Being a parent is a full-time job. The worrying continues regardless of how old your child is. However, instead of worrying, take advantage of the newfound free time you get when your child transitions to college. Use this time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because you were busy nurturing your child. This is easier said than done for most parents; therefore, consider the following tips for coping when your only child goes to college.

1. Send Them off on a High Note

coping when your only child goes to college

Sending off your child to college can be overwhelming. However, throwing them a college send-off party or high school graduation party is vital to coping when your only child goes to college. It’s a fun way of creating new memories before you both start new chapters in your lives. With a graduation party, you’ll spend plenty of time seeking graduation party ideas and you can also throw a graduation party at home.

Send-off parties are different from graduation parties in that they typically occur before the graduate starts the next school chapter. Organizing a send-off party can be a lot of work; you need to pick a theme, secure decorations and refreshments, and have entertainment for the guests, and you’ll also have to sift through different options for the best graduation party venue. You’ll also need to create invitation cards to send to all the guests. You can send them physical invitation cards or e-cards, depending on your budget and preference.

2. Capture New Memories Before They Go

coping when your only child goes to college

A trip or holiday will make everyone happy. It’s a great way of coping when your only child goes to college. If they are yet to move out, go with them on a bonding trip. Of course, you don’t have to spend all your money on this trip because you sure will need it in the coming days.

A simple road trip creates time for you and your child to bond as they prepare for the coming departure. Consider hiring a local family photographer to capture all the beautiful moments. Family time is essential as you try to navigate the new separate lives you now have and address your anxiety when your only child goes off to college.

3. Clear All the Junk Around Your Home

Your child has been living with you since you brought them home from the hospital at least 18 years ago. There must be 18 years’ worth of stuff lying around. They are not going to be carrying everything they own. This is your opportunity to declutter. If you don’t have enough time to declutter, work with a local junk removal company to eliminate all unwanted stuff.

Decluttering and clearing junk from your home will make it easy for your child to pack everything they need as they transition to college since they don’t have to sort through their belonging to find what they need to carry. If you need to repurpose your child’s room after they leave, decluttering before leaving will help lessen the burden. It’s a great way of coping when your only child goes to college.

4. Store Important Belongings

After decluttering, your child may leave some essential items at home. These are items they’ve got emotional attachments to. It could be a photo you took together on holiday, a gift they received on their birthday, or a souvenir they got from a school trip. Instead of assigning yourself the difficult task of deciding which item needs to stay and which one should be disposed of without the slightest idea of how your child feels about each specific item, the best thing is to store the items for them.

If you decide to use boxes to store your child’s memorabilia, depending on the size and nature of the item being stored, there are several storage boxes to choose from. Stackable boxes are ideal for small spaces since they can be stored vertically. Packaging each item is an emotionally satisfying way of coping when your only child goes to college. You get to relive the moments you shared.

5. Invest in a New Home Office

If you’ve been going to a co-shared working space and want to work from home, this is your chance to transform your only child’s bedroom into a new office space. The truth is, you will need to keep yourself busy to avoid the empty nest syndrome. Therefore, take home more work and enjoy working in your new home office. Having a functional office space in your house makes coping when your only child goes to college much easier.

Now that you’ve designated a space for your new office, the next step is to consider all the tasks you’ll need to accomplish in that office. For example, will you need to print and photocopy many documents? If yes, source around local stores for a multifunction printer for sale.

Decorating your new office is another pastime for coping when your only child goes to college. Instead of hiring someone to decorate your office space, take on the task as a DIY project. You can use different themes to decorate your office space; you can choose from rustic, elegant, modern, or retro. Regardless of how you choose to decorate your space, create a comfortable and productive working space.

6. Purchase a Gym Membership

coping when your only child goes to college

You’ve probably read enough articles to know that exercising is good for your physical well-being. However, do you know it can be used for coping when your only child goes to college? Exercising will help you cope by improving your sleep and boosting your mood.

It’ll also help you deal with any anxiety or depression you may feel when your child leaves. There has never been a better time to purchase a gym membership. Not only will it help you look good on the outside, but it’ll leave you feeling great on the inside.

According to research conducted by IBISWorld, there were 115,047 gym, fitness, and health centers as of January 2023. With such a huge catalog to choose from, settling on a gym can be a daunting task. However, factors such as the quality of the facility can help you choose where to take a gym membership.

For example, pick a gym with athletic flooring instead of one fitted with ordinary floors. Other factors include club location, training options, guest privileges, and operating hours. Choose one that’s convenient and most appealing to you.

7. Take Up a New Hobby

coping when your only child goes to college

If you love sports, pick one you enjoy as a way of coping when your only child goes to college. Sports are a great way to exercise your body, but they also have a lot of physiological benefits. According to Dan Brennan, 75% to 90% of patients who visit a doctor’s office are often diagnosed with stress-related illnesses.

Participating in sports stimulates your body to release endorphins, chemicals in the brain that help reduce stress. Some sports, such as golf, require maximum concentration. They force you to put aside your worries and concentrate on the game.

Golf allows you to enjoy beautiful scenes surrounded by nature. It’s also a great sport if you aren’t used to vigorous exercise. You get to walk around without necessarily tiring yourself out. If you hit the golf ball too far, just hop in one of the golf carts to easily get to where the ball is.

8. Try a Change of Space

coping when your only child goes to college

After you’ve packed all the bags and put them in the back of your trunk, it’s finally time to say goodbye to your only child. When you return home, the previously full space now feels empty. As this new chapter in your life starts, a few changes are necessary for coping when your only child goes to college. Move to a smaller space if you don’t wish to repurpose your child’s room.

Moving to a new space can be stressful. Not only will you have to go through the hustle of hiring moving companies to help you relocate, but you’ll be forced to leave behind all the memories you created in your former home. However, eventually, you’ll have less clutter and more freedom in your new, smaller space.

9. Learn Some New Skills

coping when your only child goes to college

If you develop sporadic anxiety that keeps getting in the way of your daily activities, learning a new skill is important for coping when your only child goes to college. The general feeling of worrying and boredom can demotivate you from going about your daily activities. Learning a new skill will give you something to look forward to daily. It also helps you gain the confidence you need to overcome the feelings of worry and anxiety.

If, for example, you’ve always had an interest in hair and would like to gain new skills or polish the ones you already have, enroll in a hair school to get a cosmetology degree. As you learn these new skills, you get to socialize with colleagues. Socializing will help to kill boredom as well as reduce stress levels.

10. Go Out on the Town

If your child has already moved out, visit them in school, have them come home for dinner, or go on a date with them at a local restaurant. You bet they won’t pass up an opportunity for a free meal. Remember, this isn’t the time to start scolding them for something they haven’t done or are doing wrong. Take this opportunity to create new memories together as you discover how they’re coping in their new environment.

Another great way to catch up with your child is to pick them up at college and watch a movie together. This is the time to deepen the bond between you and your only child and a great way of coping when your only child goes to college. However, understand that they’re no longer kids, and your engagement with them has to change as they mature into young adults. Now, they need you more as a friend than just being a parent. Be that, and let them feel free to express themselves to you without the fear of reprisals.

11. Find New Ways to Communicate

coping when your only child goes to college

Communication is another great way of coping when your only child goes to college. Unlike in the past when modes of communication were expensive and inefficient, with the advancement of technology, communication has become more affordable and efficient, regardless of the distance. Effective communication is essential for you and your child. Even though they may feel and act adult-ish, leave open, safe, and secure lines of communication and offer them your support whenever they need it.

One of the easiest ways to communicate is through texting. A simple text will calm the nerves of a worrying parent by assuring them their child is still alive and safe. Your child also feels the same way about you; communicating with them often calms their nerves.

Occasionally, make audio calls to your child. Both you and your child will be relieved to hear each other’s voice. The feeling of hearing or seeing someone you love in real-time is the next best thing to meeting them in person.

You can also schedule virtual dinners where you get to see and dine with your child. A word of caution, though: don’t overdo it! If you do, there’s a likelihood your child will come to dread these encounters.

Sending your child off to college is difficult, and feeling sad or crying during the initial stages is okay. However, you may need to make a few changes to cope with this new chapter in your life. Focus on the positives and create new memories.

Redefine your relationship with your child to reflect the fact that they’re growing and changing into young adults. Also, if your life was previously programmed around what’s best for you, it’s time to reprogram it with you in the center. Take that gym membership you’ve put off for so long, or start golfing and meet new, interesting people. Whatever tickles your fancy, this is the time to indulge.

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